23rd January 2012
You don’t have to go to Worsley to see an underground canal. We have one on the Chesterfield Canal at Hollingwood. It is called the Hollingwood Common Canal.
Our Work Party have been scrub bashing at Hollingwood. They have now revealed part of the Hollingwood Common Canal. This was an underground canal that ran for nearly two miles beneath what is now the Hollingwood Estate and Ringwood Hall to Westwood. It was used to bring out coal. It was not connected to the main canal. The coal was trans-shipped from the 21′ canal tunnel boats to the full-sized 70′ boats on the main canal at a wharf. This was on the old line of the canal before the 1892 cut was built. It is on this new cut that Hollingwood Lock lies.
The 1892 cut is on the left. You can see Hollingwood Lock under Works Road Bridge. The original line went to the right.
The above map is from the Spring 2011 Edition of the Trust’s magazine Cuckoo (© Chesterfield Canal Trust).
The trans-shipment wharf was to the top right of the new Lock House.
There are very few traces of the Hollingwood Common Canal on the surface now, but the tunnel is still there. This shows what the Work Party has exposed. It is on the offside bank, on the opposite side of Works Road Bridge (no. 8C) from Hollingwood Lock.
This is all you can see from the towpath.
There used to be a line of capped air shafts going right up Private Drive. This is the only one left. It is in the scrub between the bottom of Private Drive and Troughbrook Road.
This shows one of the capped air shafts at the top of Private Drive some years ago. It has since been removed.
Below is an article scanned from the February – March 1991 Edition of the Trust’s magazine Cuckoo (© Chesterfield Canal Trust)
If you go to look for the tunnel today, this is what you will see!
The entrance has been fenced off for safety reasons.
The Coal Authority, which is responsible for keeping all mineshafts safe, saw our article above and came to investigate. They put up this temporary fencing, but will make a neat job of it eventually.
The Coal Authority has been doing further works. This is its report.
“I just thought I would keep you updated re the above mine entry. Our contractors earlier in the week cleared the silt from the ditch outbye of the Adit and were able to reduce the water level by about 400mm exposing more of the Adit. The Adit entrance has also been cleared of vegetation in readiness for our bricklayers to return to make good the masonry and fix a permanent grille, when weather conditions permit. On completion, the immediate area around the Adit mouth, where there are vertical falls, will receive a post and rail security fence. Hopefully these completed works will be visible from the canal towpath for all to view.”
The Coal Authority is back again to make good the mouth of the tunnel.
After this work is complete, a grill will be fitted across the entrance.
The Coal Authority has finished making good the mouth of the tunnel. It has erected a fence. Later a grill will be placed over the entrance.
A sculpture was unveiled today at Laurel Crescent in Hollingwood. It was created by Graeme Mitcheson, who got inspiration from children at Hollingwood Primary School. The theme was the Hollingwood Common Canal. It was paid for by Chesterfield Borough Council’s One Percent for Art scheme. Click here for the Press Release.
Photo shows Graeme Mitcheson, Mrs Jean Barr (Mayoress of Chesterfield), Cllr Terry Gilby, Cllr Peter Barr (Mayor of Chesterfield) and members of Hollingwood School Council.
The Coal Authority has now put a grille across the entrance to complete an excellent job. As the site is now secure, the ugly Heras fencing has gone.
Intriguingly, a second tunnel has also been exposed; presumably it’s a drain.
If you go to look, this is what you see from the towpath. Works Road Bridge is ahead, with Hollingwood Hub just beyond. The site itself is not accessible to the public.
21st March 2015
Thanks to this group of guys from the Waterway Recovery Group, the entrance to the underground canal is visible again (on the left). We intend to keep it like this, so that it can be seen from the towpath just below Hollingwood Hub.
A couple of weeks ago, it looked like this.